PR in 2013: What to Do When Everyone Thinks They’re a Journalist

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Michiko Morales

Alright, it’s true. Social media is here to stay. STOP THE PRESSES! Never mind, you don’t even need “presses” anymore. (What are presses anyway?) And why? Because of social media, that’s why. Some social channels may come and go (remember Friendster?) but social connectedness empowered through technology is here to stay. But, really, what does that mean for YOU: the B2B tech marketing pro or the tech PR practitioner?

For starters, the accessibility that social media offers to the public has created an age where anyone and everyone can break the news or shift public opinion. A typhoon in the Philippines? It’ll be on Twitter within seconds. A 6-year-old finds a meteorite in his garden? You can bet it’ll be all over Facebook before the day is over. Let’s not confuse the ability to “break a story” with being a real journalist, however (more on that later).

Now, how do today’s PR pros do their job in this environment? Because the honest to goodness truth is that PR today is not your mother’s public relations job. Forget your mother (no offense), it’s not even the same job your mid-thirties agency VP cut their teeth on. Every time Leah Nurik–GMG’s president and founder, (who happens to be super smart and closer to 35 than 40) gets herself going on the “good old days,” she tells us a story about making press clips with graph paper and a copy machine, and more specifically, how this now archaic task almost got her fired from her first agency job because her clips were crooked. But it really is the perfect example of just how much social media is changing the game. Today, here at GMG, we don’t have any graph paper. We don’t even have a copy machine! We do, however, have cloud-based analytics apps, collaboration apps for client sharing, influencer ranks and measurement spreadsheets based on…you guessed it! Social Media.

Social media has, without a doubt, changed everything. It has given a voice to the masses and even has the ability to start revolutions. And, albeit much less important–as in WAY-less-not even-in-the-same-galaxy important–in the overall scope of human history, it has changed the world of tech marketing.

In just a few short years the impact that social media has had on B2B marketing alone has increased exponentially. Four years ago, PR and marketing firms may not have been able to prove (or, honestly, make) any impact on a B2B client’s business with social media. Today, however, we can see a complete impact. The stats and evaluation methods provided by social media applications unequivocally prove its worth. This goes for all types of organizations that are connected via social media.

PR pros can also utilize social media to create a voice not only around their firms, but also around themselves personally and their clients as thought leaders. It enables you to honestly connect with customers, clients and other practitioners, and to be 100% transparent. In today’s world of constant communication, transparency and strategy are equivalent and also essential to generating positive conversation around brands: B2B, B2C or individual. It’s also a great place for brand audits and research before you plan your go-to-market and communications strategy.

It’s also important to note that even though every Tom, Dick, and Harriet now has the ability to share breaking news and opinion, 140 characters or less does not replace the need or the respect that real journalism commands. Journalists are under intense pressure to produce massive amounts of content while maintaining journalistic principles. Remember: social media should be helpful, but not self-serving.

From the Blog

Leah Nurik